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Aleppo's businessmen blame Turks for damaged factories, looted equipment

While the large industrial complexes in northern Syria were once reminders of the strong economic ties between Ankara and Damascus, Aleppo's businessmen now hold Turkey responsible for the destruction and looting of their factories.

ALEPPO, Syria — It may not be a bright idea to introduce yourself as from Turkey to people you meet in the areas controlled by the Syrian army. Alevi, Sunni or Christian, it doesn’t make a difference. They are all enraged. But I always introduced myself as a Turk in my travels from Damascus to Aleppo, from Homs to Tartus and from Latakia to Kesab. Almost everybody I met started the conversation, "We like Turkey and Turkish people,” but inevitably ended it with critical remarks against the Ankara government, particularly President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Many leveled serious charges against Turkey, including supporting terror and plundering.

I listened to a Syrian army commander in the rubble of centuries-old historic buildings in divided Aleppo say, “The basic reason for the fall of Aleppo and Idlib to armed groups is the terrorists sent from Turkey and the support Turkey gives to them.” At Sheikh Najjar Industrial City I heard even more damning accusations that may take Turkey to The Hague. Aleppo industrialists say more than 300 factories were plundered and their equipment sold in Turkey, hence their decision to settle their accounts with Turkey at the International Court of Justice.

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